Thursday morning we left Sparks, Nevada after breakfast at the motel (of course...we were on a budget, after all!!), and getting gas. We crossed the California state line at 8:15 in the morning, and we knew we had to turn in the rental car by 3 p.m. This was not going to be a long day at all, but we were still in for some beautiful scenery along Lake Tahoe. We left I-80 and went south on SR 89, taking us along the west side of Lake Tahoe. Here are some of the sites, as best captured from the car on a cell phone:
At the south end of Lake Tahoe we headed west on US 50. We stopped in Pollock Pines for lunch at Taco Bell, and filled the car up with gas one last time. When we got into Sacramento we got back on I-80. We realized we were pushing our time a little, so we did not go by the capital in Sacramento, but Corbin had been there on his other trips. I think he had also been through Carson City, Nevada, on one of his earlier trips and no doubt went by the capital on that trip. We did not go into Carson City as it was on the east side of Lake Tahoe.
We headed toward the Bay Area, and arrived at Susan's apartment at 1:30 p.m. The long road trip was over. We had come 3,600 miles from Chicago to the Bay Area...and I never drove once. We finished the last card to the Trivial Pursuit game on this morning. It had been a great trip...oh my goodness. I saw so many sites, landscapes, terrains. Our United States of America has much to behold! I never thought I would make such a trip as this, and I have my Son to thank for making this possible for me. Beyond all that we saw and did, it truly was having my Son to myself for almost a whole week that was the biggest blessing. Mothers understand that. Between our conversations and the trivia questions, I never had time to take a nap or read a book or look at a magazine...my normal ways to pass time while riding as a passenger.
For sure, the Bay Area is an area of bridges. I was only in the Bay Area for a couple of days, as I flew back to Chicago on Sunday. Corbin and Susan asked what I wanted to do while I was there. I said I didn't need to go into San Francisco or across the Golden Gate Bridge, but I would like to see the skyline and the bridge from a distance. On Saturday we did just that. It wasn't the clearest of days, but it is possible to see the downtown skyline in the background.
From there we went to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and walked along the beach of the Pacific Ocean! First time I have ever touched those waters! We watched the surfers trying to catch a wave...which were few and far between.
After frolicking in the water a bit, we drove through Sausalito, which is a fun looking place...all the houses on the hills, almost stacked on top of each other, and the downtown streets filled with people and shops and eateries and activities. From there we drove up to San Rafeal, parked the car, and walked around the town a bit. We walked up to the Mission San Rafael.
Early Sunday morning Corbin took me to Oakland International Airport for my flight back to Chicago. I had a non-stop flight that took me into Chicago Midway International Airport. This was the part of my trip that I would be completely on my own, and I have to honestly say I was a little nervous. I had not flown in over ten years, so getting through security was a little different, but not difficult. I was on a full flight and since seats were not assigned, I chose to sit by a mother with a baby since it was a window seat. I know that flight pressure hurts babies ears, and I expected the baby to cry a lot. I doubted many passengers would choose to sit there, but I didn't mind.
Once we landed at Midway, I retrieved my bag at baggage claim and then found my way to the train to take me down town close to Union Station. I had about a two block walk, so I took a few pictures of Chicago.
I passed by a very familiar sign to me, reminding me of the trip Paul and I took with Kevin and our granddaughters about three years ago...a Route 66 road trip. Route 66 starts in Chicago and goes to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. We just took it as far as Albuquerque, where Corbin and Susan lived at that time. Sometime I hope to take it all the way to Santa Monica. It's a neat trip!
Union Station is located on the Chicago River. I thought I would include a video of Chicago just for Corbin and Susan's sake...nostalgia of the town they left behind.
Here I am...headed out to my train that will take me back home to Kalamazoo. Finally I had transportation that was not crowded, and I had a whole seat to myself to stretch out. I was tired. It had been a long 10 days for me. I had about three hours to rest before getting into the Kalamazoo station. Friends Chris and Greg were there to pick me up. Even had a hot air balloon going across the sky at that moment. And thus ends my 2015 Trip West!